Horse Racing

Baffert, Zedan files Appeal to Kentucky Superior Court


Coach Bob Baffert and owner Amr Zedan filed a lawsuit with the Kentucky Court of Appeals on Thursday in an attempt to legally block a series of looming penalties related to Medina Spirit’s drug-positive convictions. during the GI Kentucky Derby in 2021.

The most severe of these is the 90-day suspension for Baffert, scheduled to start April 4.

The March 24 filing comes just 72 hours after a lower court refuse Baffert and Zedan’s pleas A stay or temporary order that could uphold Baffert’s suspension and $7,500 fine, plus forfeiture of Zedan’s wallet winnings, will go into effect while the Equestrian Commission’s appeal process Kentucky (KHRC) takes place.

KHRC has a history of regularly granting residency permits while cases are being appealed, but that has not happened in the case of Baffert and Zedan, since the now deceased Medina Spirit positive betamethasone at last year’s Derby.

“Here, KHRC refused to follow standard procedure and upheld Management Decisions pending appeal,” the court document states. “In fact, in its history, the KHRC has never denied a coach’s request to continue carrying out preliminary management penalties while those rulings are appealed. Never. Not once. Until now. This fact was recognized by the Franklin Circuit Court, but the Court erroneously denied the residence permit… Absence of the Administrators by April 4, 2022, Plaintiffs will be harmed immediate and irreparable. ”

Separately on Thursday, Baffert revealed publicly that four of his top Derby contenders are in the process of transfer to other coaches so they can try and earn qualifying points and go to the Derby.

Even if Baffert wins this Court of Appeals effort, he is still barred from qualifying his horse to enter and run in the Derby based on a separate private party ban issued by the Churchill Downs-owned games company onion. But Baffert also fight that eviction in federal court and seek a speedy ruling that would allow him to participate in the Derby while that case goes on.

The documents on Thursday said that the Franklin Circuit Court “abused its arbitrariness to overlook an enormous and irreparable prejudice” against Baffert over his pending suspension. his argument, offering four alternatives to that argument.

“First, the lower court did not appreciate the intent of the huge precedent held that missed professional sports events were incurable injuries for purposes of

document said. “According to the Circuit Court, those cases are unresolvable because ‘Baffert is not an athlete’, whose career ‘depends on a small period of eligibility or length of time. peak time.’

“This is wrong even on the terms of the Court. Baffert 69 years old; No different from the average professional athlete, Baffert’s chances of future opportunities are similarly limited…. There is no way to salvage Baffert’s lost opportunity to participate in the prestigious races that define his fame and career success.”

The document continues: “Second, the lower court was fundamentally wrong in concluding that ‘any harm would be suffered by Baffert by not participating in the 2022 Triple Crown or other races during the period. suspended period will result in monetary loss’ and therefore not a large enough irreparable injury. [This mischaracterizes] the fact that monetary damages are often fully quantifiable and thus reflect satisfactory remedies upon appeal…

“Baffert’s income from racing is almost entirely related to a horse’s performance in a given race. There is simply no way to determine exactly how his horses will perform in the races that take place during his suspension. Missing out on the prestigious Triple Crown (and many others) races in 2022 is irreparable harm to a coach like Baffert as their chances of competing can never be regained. Gains and lost opportunities are not remunerated,” the document says.

The legal filings raise two other arguments regarding the allegation of abuse of discretion: That “similarly, the lower courts would downplay the enormous damage to Baffert’s entire livelihood if it were [he is] forced to immediately comply with the suspension, “and the Circuit Court” abused its discretion by not realizing that forcing Baffert to immediately comply with the suspension would defeat all purpose. his appeal. ”

The document summarizes by alleging that “the Circuit Court misled the matter and misunderstood the scope” of its own review.

“[Baffert and Zedan] as the Circuit Court has argued, do not attempt to ‘coerce’ [the KHRC] to automatically release the holiday. ‘ Movants merely protested that when the KHRC moved away from its common practice; it must do so for valid reasons based on the evidence in the record.

“In other words, the KHRC must apply the same standard that has been applied to every drug-positive case to date,” the document states.

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